Samsung’s mid-range telephone recreation is, traditionally, fairly weak. So is Apple’s, to be honest, leaving it to Google and the Chinese language smartphone giants to fill within the gaps.
Once I first noticed the Galaxy A53 I had my hopes that Samsung had turned a nook, providing a steadiness of specs, options, and classy design that not solely bests Apple’s newest iPhone SE, however might be a real rival to the very best of Xiaomi, Oppo, and Honor.
I don’t thoughts holding my palms up and admitting I used to be fallacious. Effectively, partly. I believe the Galaxy A53 is a greater telephone than Apple’s SE, and there’s an terrible lot about it that I like: a terrific design, glorious software program assist, waterproofing, and succesful cameras.
Nevertheless it’s let down by desperately disappointing efficiency that’s in actual fact worse than its rapid predecessor, the Galaxy A52s – so you need to most likely purchase that as an alternative.
Design and construct
Easy however enticing design
Vary of colors
IP67 mud and water-resistance
Among the best issues concerning the Galaxy A53 is its design. Most mid-range telephones look both plain or downright ugly, however Samsung has made an effort to make this look the half.
Out there in black, white, peach, or blue, that is constructed from plastic, however doesn’t attempt to cover it. As an alternative Samsung embraces the fabric with a clean matt end that curves as much as meet the rear digicam module – a design aptitude beforehand seen within the considerably costlier Oppo Discover X5 Professional.
On the entrance, the admittedly massive 6.5in display is surrounded by a black bezel that’s slim – although not the slimmest. It’s interrupted solely by a small central punch-hole selfie digicam.
One of the crucial distinctive parts of the A53 – given its value – is an IP67 mud and water-resistance ranking. This can be a stage of safety that not even each flagship telephone ensures, and it’s an actual rarity at this value. In order for you that peace of thoughts once you’re in your telephone within the tub, that is certainly one of only a few Android telephones that provide it.
And whereas the telephone’s rear is plastic, the show is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, which ought to add a stage of safety from drops and scratches too.
General, the design right here feels easy, however by no means plain. It’s understated and enticing, with care taken to make this feel and look like a reasonably premium system, albeit by itself phrases.
Show and audio
6.5in AMOLED display
120Hz refresh charge
Stereo audio system
As we flip to the telephone’s display, it’s nonetheless all excellent news. This 6.5in Full HD+ panel could also be a bit of massive for some tastes, although actually it’s about typical in dimension for Android as of late.
What’s not typical is the usage of a 120Hz AMOLED panel. Just like the IP ranking, this isn’t exceptional for the value, but it surely’s positively uncommon, and locations the A53’s display within the higher echelon of mid-rangers.
This can be a brilliant, enticing display able to glorious color vary and clean scrolling. Because of the AMOLED tech used, it additionally packs in an under-display fingerprint scanner – which works fairly properly, if a contact slowly.
Audio can also be spectacular, with stereo sound delivered by the included audio system. That is one other oddity on the value, and along with the display it will make the A53 a tempting possibility for anybody who sits on their telephone watching films or enjoying video games.
In fact, there’s no headphone jack, however each USB-C and wi-fi headphones are supported.
Specs and efficiency
Samsung’s personal Exynos 1280 chip
Sluggish, laggy, and regularly freezes
That is the crux of the matter: there’s not a lot good I can say concerning the efficiency of the Galaxy A53.
Whereas final yr’s A52 and A52s each used mid-range Snapdragon 7-series chips from Qualcomm, for the A53 Samsung has opted to make use of its personal new Exynos 1280 chipset.
This was not a good suggestion.
Benchmarks are unimpressive: whereas the A53 barely edges the A52, particularly in gaming benchmarks, it lags properly behind the A52s, itself launched simply six months in the past. Wanting exterior Samsung, efficiency is an in depth match for the Poco X4 Professional and OnePlus Nord CE 2 – each considerably cheaper telephones – however comfortably behind the OnePlus Nord 2 from final yr, which is a greater match for it on value. It wouldn’t even be honest to check to the iPhone SE, which makes use of the identical chip as Apple’s present flagship iPhone 13 vary.
Synthetic benchmark scores don’t inform the entire story although. I reviewed the Nord CE 2 myself, and whereas its benchmarks are on a par with the A53’s, the OnePlus didn’t characteristic half the stuttering, lag, or slowdown that I’ve suffered via on the A53.
This telephone is gradual, whether or not you’re utilizing one app or making an attempt to multitask. RAM appears to be the primary subject: regardless of my evaluate pattern boasting 6GB of reminiscence the telephone struggles to maintain a number of apps working directly, and at instances it’s frozen even after I’m simply utilizing Chrome.
It makes the telephone irritating to make use of, with the sort of expertise I’d be aggravated by on a telephone half this value.
Efficiency might range relying available on the market. Whereas within the US and UK the telephone ships with 6GB of RAM as normal, elsewhere you should buy it with 4GB (don’t) or 8GB. Equally, storage is 128GB on my mannequin however 256GB could also be an possibility the place you reside. In both case, storage could be expanded by as much as 1TB by way of microSD card.
It’s not all dangerous. 5G is supported, as is NFC for card funds and Bluetooth 5.1. The Wi-Fi 6 assist in its predecessor has been dropped for the earlier gen model, although it’s unlikely that you’ve got a Wi-Fi 6 router to take benefit anyway.
Spectacular 64Mp predominant digicam
Alright ultrawide and macro
Nice 32Mp selfie digicam
Samsung has primarily left the digicam setup unchanged from the A52 and A52s, although with a lot of recent smartphone pictures dealt with computationally, the change in chipset might nonetheless have an effect on picture high quality.
There’s no actual trigger for concern although. The principle 64Mp digicam is able to actually brilliant, punchy pictures in good mild, and due to a large f/1.Eight aperture and optical picture stabilisation it holds its personal in dimmer circumstances too, preserving element and distinction properly.
High quality actually drops when it will get actually darkish, and that is nonetheless the place flagship telephones pull other than the pack. However I’d be stunned to see many telephones at this value do a lot better than the A53 has.
That 64Mp predominant sensor is flanked by three extra: an 8Mp ultrawide, 5Mp macro, and 5Mp depth sensor. The latter merely helps with portrait pictures, whereas the primary two are inevitably situational, however don’t do badly. The ultrawide specifically takes extra vibrant, vibrant pictures than I’d anticipate from rivals, although there’s a particular drop intimately in comparison with the primary digicam.
On the entrance, the 32Mp selfie digicam is a shock spotlight. Selfies pack in a great deal of element and nice color vary, even in difficult lighting. I’ve taken worse selfies on telephones twice this value, and this digicam is an actual power for the telephone.
As for video, you possibly can shoot at as much as [email protected] from both the entrance or rear digicam, and the OIS on the rear lens retains issues good and secure when recording off the primary digicam.
Battery and charging
Over sooner or later’s battery
Sluggish 25W wired charging
No charger included
The A53 impresses on pure battery life, with a beneficiant 5000mAh cell. I’ve discovered the telephone comfortably lasts a full day, and lightweight customers will most likely discover it might probably stretch to 2.
In my case, I’ve discovered the telephone is usually nonetheless above 50% battery by the point I get to mattress, and is glad to ship a number of hours of screen-on time in the course of the day.
Charging is much less thrilling, however that’s as true for Samsung’s costliest telephones as it’s for this one actually.
Wired charging is proscribed to 25W speeds – resolutely sluggish by trendy Android requirements, even amongst low cost telephones. Samsung additionally does not embrace a charger with the telephone, so you may have to purchase your personal. Utilizing a third-party 65W charger (so comfortably quicker than the telephone’s max) I solely reached 26% cost after thirty minutes plugged in, which means it will want topping up in a single day more often than not.
There’s no assist in any respect for wi-fi charging. That’s typical for the value, however value mentioning provided that this one space the place the iPhone SE excels.
Software program and updates
Android 12 with One UI 4.1
4 years of Android updates promised
Let’s finish on a excessive notice – and the primary actual cause to go for this telephone over the earlier A52s.
The Galaxy A53 ships with Android 12, the most recent model of the Google OS, working Samsung’s One UI 4.1 pores and skin on high.
You’ll get Google’s up to date privateness controls – together with icons and alerts when the microphone and digicam activate – together with Samsung’s implementation of the Materials You device which pulls UI color palettes out of your wallpaper.
In fact, I’ve my issues that the software program is absolutely what’s at fault for the telephone’s middling efficiency. Samsung’s heavy interface can typically be sluggish even on high-end gadgets, and the sluggishness transferring across the telephone and opening apps can virtually actually be defined partly by the One UI software program layer.
No less than which means issues would possibly get higher. Samsung has promised that the A53 will obtain 4 Android model updates – from Android 13 (with One UI 5) via 16 – together with a fifth yr of safety patches. This is identical replace promise it provides for its costliest telephones, and is exceptional at this value for Android. The truth is, it is a higher software program assist assure than provided by anybody besides Apple.
That makes the A53 a superb selection when you’re in search of an inexpensive telephone that shall be supported in the long run. The one danger is that a few of these updates find yourself worsening the already iffy efficiency – although it is a gamble, as Samsung might equally use patches to optimise the telephone and enhance the way it runs.
Worth and availability
At £399/$449/€449, the Galaxy A53 is firmly mid-range. You possibly can decide it up from Samsung’s on-line retailer, Amazon, or most tech retailers – or main networks together with T-Cellular, Verizon, and AT&T within the US; or Vodafone, O2, EE, or Three within the UK. In the event you’re tempted, we have rounded up the very best Galaxy A53 offers we are able to discover that can assist you purchase it at the very best value.
Its clear rivals in Europe and Asia are the wonderful OnePlus Nord 2, the cheaper Poco X4 Professional, and the marginally pricier Realme GT 2. The Pixel 6a will even be a compelling various as soon as it launches in July, and Apple’s iPhone SE sits at a comparable value worldwide.
With flagship-style options like an IP67 ranking and OIS on the primary digicam, the Galaxy A53 provides loads that its closest Android rivals don’t – and the trendy design and glorious show give it a transparent edge over the clunky, old style iPhone SE. Sadly all these telephones will ship smoother efficiency than Samsung’s.
The Galaxy A53 actually solely has one flaw, but it surely’s such an enormous one which it makes the telephone troublesome to wholeheartedly suggest.
Efficiency is sluggish, with stuttering and freezing frequent even throughout mild use. At this value, a telephone ought to run higher.
That’s a disgrace, as a result of Samsung has nailed it elsewhere. The A53 seems to be nice, it’s well-built, the digicam and show are among the many finest at this value, and the software program assist is bested solely by Apple.
With a extra highly effective processor and smoother software program the A53 could be a no brainer. However as it’s, it will solely be an possibility for the affected person.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: Specs
Android 12 with One UI 4.1
6.5in AMOLED, 2400 x 1080, 120Hz, 20:9 ratio
Exynos 1280 chipset
128/256GB of storage (expandable by way of microSD)
64Mp f/1.Eight OIS predominant digicam
12Mp f/2.2 ultrawide
5Mp f/2.Four macro
5Mp f/2.Four depth sensor
32Mp f/2.2 selfie digicam
Stereo audio system
Underneath-display fingerprint sensor
25W wired charging
USB-C charging port
159.6 x 74.Eight x 8.1mm